The latest SWIFT RMB Tracker shows that during the last two years (October 2014 – September 2016), seven new countries are now using the RMB for more than 10% of their direct payments by value with Mainland China and Hong Kong, bringing the total to 57 countries worldwide. The 10% milestone, also known as "crossing the RMB river," is a threshold set by SWIFT to measure the adoption of RMB payments by value with Mainland China and Hong Kong compared to other currencies.
Among the 101 countries using the RMB for payments, the weight of these payments by value reached 12.9%, giving the currency a nearly 2% increase since October 2014 (11.2%).
Although seven more countries are "crossing the RMB river" than in October 2014, these new nations are - with the exception of Spain - smaller trade partners for China, like Bolivia, Colombia, Mozambique, Namibia, Kuwait and Georgia.
"Over the last two years, we have witnessed a continued increase in RMB usage for direct payments with Mainland China and Hong Kong, with most of the growth coming from early adopters and main RMB clearing centers, such as Singapore, the United Kingdom and South Korea," says Astrid Thorsen, Head of Business Intelligence Solutions, SWIFT.
"On the other hand, two of the largest economies in the world and important trade partners with China, United States and Japan, still show low RMB adoption. The latest announcement related to the appointment of the first RMB clearing centre in the United States should positively impact the country's RMB usage."
Overall, the RMB kept its position as the fifth most active currency for global payments by value, with an increased share of 2.03%, compared to 1.86% last month. In September 2016, the value of RMB global payments value increased by 10.02% compared to August 2016, which is higher than the average growth of 0.93% for all currencies.